Lala Kent opens up to ET about life after her split from Randall Emmett and the drama unfolding on Bravo's 'Vanderpump Rules.'
"I mean, the Lala that was onscreen was still trying to process what had happened, you know? We were so fresh and in it," she reflects with ET, sitting down at a pop-up shopping experience for her brand, Give Them Lala, at Shopify LA in Downtown Los Angeles.
Season 10 picked up just as Lala's personal world began to fall apart. She ended her engagement to movie producer Randall Emmett, moving out of their Bel-Air mansion with their then-infant daughter, Ocean, as cheating allegations spread on gossip blogs. Then, the Los Angeles Times dropped a bombshell exposé about Randall, painting him out to be, as Lala put it, "a mini Harvey Weinstein." Lala claims to have heard "much worse" about her ex than what's been printed in the press, while Randall's denied all allegations brought against him.
"It's horrific and disturbing, and it's why I'm in a custody battle," she says. "Ocean Kent has to be protected. It's really bad."
While Lala won't say if she's fighting for sole custody of the soon-to-be 2-year-old, her referring to her daughter as a Kent rather than an Emmett speaks volumes.
"I would prefer not to touch on what exactly I'm fighting for; I feel like that we can keep, you know, just behind closed doors for Ocean's sake," she offers, "but I'm doing what I need to do to ensure her safety and her future."
While fans will see the ups and the downs of the process unfold as season 10 continues to air, they won't see Ocean. Randall blocked her from filming.
"I knew that it was coming," Lala admits. "He likes to be in the spotlight, he had no problem parading my child into scenes when he was a part of it, and now suddenly it's not good for her? So, I knew. Like, he didn't even have to send me some stupid legal letter, I was like, I know how this works. I'm not tripping on it."
While Lala will still share her side of things this season, not being able to film with Ocean proved to be a bit of a blessing.
"Season 10, this sounds crazy, it saved me," Lala admits. "I needed to get out of what my life was, and I wanted to be around my friends and feel supported, and listen to what was going on in their life. It just felt like the most epic purge, you know? It was like therapy every day. So even though it's strange to relive it, it almost is like, wow, look how far we've come."
"I'm swimming when I thought that I would be sinking," she adds. "I feel like I'm evolving every single day, and learning different things, so even though I recognize her it's almost like, my heart goes out to her, because we're not there anymore. So, it's a little bit triggering."
Fans have already watched Lala get emotional over the state of her life, including a tear-filled heart-to-heart chat with Lisa Vanderpump, who questioned Lala about the countless red flags others saw in Randall, but which Lala somehow ignored, during their time together.
"I expect the outside world to think that way, but someone who's that close to me, you should know who I am at this point," Lala explains of being so hurt by Lisa's line of questioning. "I've shown my most vulnerable side to you, but I did understand that she was asking the tough questions that a lot of people wanted to know. Like, I understood the drill. But, of course, this is my real life, so I didn't love it."
"I think that the questions should be directed at someone else," she notes. "Not me. I know my hands are not exactly clean. I was stupid. I should've asked the tough questions, but at the end of the day, I was drinking and I think that I was drinking like that because my gut was telling me something and I needed something to quiet it."
While it's not an excuse, Lala's addiction is her only explanation for how she operated in the early days of her relationship with Randall.
"Drinking, it definitely impacted my life -- obviously -- in a very negative way," she says. "There's things that have happened in my past that I know never would've happened had I not been drinking. Cut to four years and some change later, all of these situations are what led to me getting sober. It wasn't just one thing where I was like, 'I'm gonna give up alcohol...' No, it was a plethora of horrific decisions that led to this."
Lala's shared her journey to and through sobriety on the show, opening up about struggling with her commitment to her program, Alcoholics Anonymous, on a recent episode.
"Not picking up the drink has been, thank God, the easy part," she shares. "But in order for me to maintain sobriety, I have to live by the program, and unfortunately with what we practice and learn in the program, I just was not in the space to allow myself to really be involved."
"I had to call my sponsor, and go back in steps, and tell her, 'Not picking up a drink has to be good enough, because I'm not-- I'd be lying if I told you that these steps are going to be completed,'" she continues. "They won't be. I'm angry. I have resentment. So, we're good in sobriety, we're thriving. We're back at it. I feel like we're ready to practice forgiveness... with some people."
Lala's unlikely to make amends with her ex, but she is weirdly thankful for everything he put her through, because it's how she learned that "I'm the powerful one."
"I was very comfortable in the relationship. and I felt like we were kind of 50/50, and together we made a really great couple," she offers. "What I'm realizing is, I was the great one and made him tolerable. So, that was my, 'aha!' that, I got this."
"I've realized that I'm so OK by myself," she adds. "I have incredible people surrounding me. I don't need a man, as cliché as that sounds, like, I'm so fulfilled and happy, even though I'm going through what I'm going through for Ocean. I'm just like-- I feel happy. I feel free. I haven't felt that way in a really long time."
"Oh my gosh, I am so happy that we never got married!" she exclaims. "That was the biggest blessing in disguise. I don't know what I did right in my lifetime to be able to have this beautiful baby, and then also get out of this relationship, like, without a metaphorical scratch. I'm like, the universe definitely was looking out for me."
During a recent appearance on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, Lala claimed Randall was already engaged to a new woman, who moved into the home the former couple shared just days after Lala moved out. A representative for Randall was quick to shut down the story, though, telling ET in a statement, "Randall is in no way, shape or form engaged. Anyone who says otherwise is either making it up, ill-informed or both."
"It's so funny, because in the press he has people deny it, but when I refer to her that way, no one corrects me, so..." she laughs. "And it's like, I'm so happy. You should be parading it around, because that woman that is, like, in that torture chamber with you literally saved my life. So, I love that girl."
Lala is still co-parenting with Randall, though they only communicate through an app decided upon by their legal teams. While she described the situation as "torture" on Vanderpump Rules, she feels less intensely about everything now.
"I'm pretty unaffected by him," she says. "He's like a little fruit fly, where you're annoying, but you're not hurting me so like, whatever."
As for Lala's love life, she's not quite ready to dive back into the dating pool. She's made it clear, she's down for sex and that's about it at this point.
"I don't even know what I want in like a long-term partner," she confesses. "All I know is, I want them tall, dark and handsome. And that's good enough for now."
"I certainly don't want to go into another relationship without some therapy," she adds. "I don't want to attract another person who's not great and, when this is all over, I just want to enjoy my baby. I don't want anything else to think about except for my little human and us just together all the time."
It's not a fear-based pause on dating, though. Lala says she "strangely" is not afraid of getting hurt again.
"I mean, my guard is up in the sense where it's like, what are your motives? Are there red flags happening?" she rattles off. "But as far as my heart goes, I completely believe in love and I'm open to it. Like, I'm not scarred in that sense."
For now, Lala's got plenty to focus on between her daughter and the show drama, some of which intersects. The season kicked off with Lala unhappy with Tom Schwartz, who remained in communication with Randall, despite Lala's explicit ask of the friend group to stay away from her ex as they entered their custody battle over Ocean.
"I was going to war," she declares. "I couldn't have anybody who wasn't with me, because they were a liability. I didn't know what my future was going to hold, and I feel like if was about me, I maybe would've been a little bit more OK with people going and kicking it with him, but it was about my baby. So, I had to draw the line in the sand, and even though people don't understand it, I really don't care. Maybe if, one day, you're in my position -- which I wouldn't wish upon anybody -- you would understand."
Schwartz didn't seem to grasp why Lala would be upset by him continuing a friendship with Randall, a move she describes as par for the course when it comes to the Schwartz and Sandy's co-owner.
"Schwartz just, he doesn't like conflict," she says, "and that's cute when you're young, but as you get older, like, you have to stand for something. You have to choose something. There are big-boy pants that you gotta put on at some point, and I guess he just wanted to play pickle ball, which is like... OK? I don't understand, but I just don't think he likes putting himself in situations where he's got to be like this and choose."
Tensions for the two only escalate from here; the trailer features an aggressive argument between Schwartz and Lala, in which he calls her a "bootleg Housewife" and scoffs at her filler-enhanced lips.
"I took it as a huge compliment," Lala cracks. "Coming from a bootleg man, I didn't think much of it."
Schwartz also finds himself in the middle of some drama involving his ex-wife, Katie Maloney, after Scheana Shay suggested Schwartz pursue castmate Raquel Leviss, despite Katie's request that Schwartz not date within the friend group after their divorce. Unfortunately for Lala, she's a friend to all three women.
"It's a weird place to be and now I kind of understand why Ariana [Madix] kind of shuts down," she cracks. "It does become kind of a lot. I honestly think the person to really blame here is Tom Schwartz. Like, why is no one directing any anger at him? It's insane to me; and we keep saying that we want to build with this group, and like the girls have to have each other's backs, and then something like this happens and, yes, there's a lot of people to blame, but I think the main one is Tom Schwartz, the basset hound."
"It's strange to me, especially with what I've been through, that the woman always take the brunt of the man's actions," she adds, "and you'll see this season that I'm pretty passionate about that not happening anymore."
Schwartz and Raquel's hookup may also be a distraction of sorts, as he's reportedly dating someone else, a woman named Jo.
"Another girl who's been in the friend group," Lala points out. "It's like, my cast lives so far up their own you-know-whats, where I'm like, 'There's other people in Los Angeles!' Like, this isn't the only group. You know ... there's a lot of hot men and women. Like, people move here because they're hot, right?"
The Vanderpump crew's long been a bit incestuous; Lala's own history with mixing friendship with benefits came back to haunt her this season, as she confessed to having sex with James Kennedy while he was dating Raquel, and while she was dating Randall. That revelation led Raquel to label Lala an "f-ing hypocrite," given that Lala shut down Raquel even thinking about getting together with Schwartz.
"I knew that this season and my past were going to clash," Lala offers. "I'm not blind to the fact that it is hypocritical. I got it, but we also have to live in the now; and I do have a past, but that's not where we are today, right? Now, we're talking about your actions that you're doing right now. So, they can try and talk about history and do all of those things."
"'Well, five years ago, you did this,"" she continues, mocking her co-stars. "I'm like, oh my god, we gotta move on. I'm begging you. I'm going insane."
"Hypocrite" isn't the only label thrown Lala's way by a co-star this year; Tom Sandoval called her a "bully" who's "bored" after she announced she would be "coming for him" at reunion for claiming she got "knocked up" with Ocean.
"I'm not the biggest fan," she says of Sandoval. "A bully who's bored? It's like, I wish it would've been more intense than that. It was very uneventful to see that and read that. I was like, really? That's all you've got?"
"If you need help, I can help you," she offers. "I'm great at comebacks. I'm happy to write things, insults towards me, for any of my cast."
Vanderpump Rules airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo, while the Give Them Lala and Friends pop-up experience, also featuring products from Lala's co-stars, Scheana Shay and Kristina Kelly's brands, is open all weekend long at Shopify LA at ROW DTLA.